01/27/2016 1:50PM

Richie the Bull makes first start for new connections in Swale

Four-Footed Fotos
Richie the Bull, winner of the Illinois Futurity at Hawthorne, will run for trainer Joan Scott in the seven-furlong Swale.

HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. – Joan Scott is well aware that Awesome Banner is the horse to beat Saturday in the Grade 2 Swale Stakes at Gulfstream Park, “but this is the time of year when you have to face really good horses if you’re trying to move along,” she said.

Scott will be sending out Richie the Bull for the first time in the $150,000 Swale at seven furlongs. A winner in three of four starts as a 2-year-old, Richie the Bull has been privately purchased by a new group known as Richie’s Usual Suspect, a partnership based primarily out of the West Palm Beach, Fla., area.

“It’s basically a big group of people looking to have some fun,” Scott said this week from her Tampa Bay Downs base.

Richie the Bull, an Illinois-bred by Benny the Bull, formerly was trained by Larry Rivelli. The bay colt won his debut at Arlington Park in May, then did not resurface until October at Keeneland, where he won an allowance sprint before finishing a creditable third in the Juvenile Dirt Sprint on Breeders’ Cup weekend. He then finished his season with a romp over statebreds in the Illinois Futurity at Hawthorne in December.

Since Scott began training him at Tampa, Richie the Bull “has done everything perfectly,” said Scott, the trainer of stakes winners Freefourinternet, Dr. Zic, Cor Cor, and Speed Seeker during a 14-year career. “Larry has been very good at filling us in about the horse. We’re all very excited to see him run there Saturday.”

Richie the Bull could be the second choice in a compact Swale field in which Awesome Banner figures as a solid favorite off his 4 3/4-length victory Jan. 2 in the Hutcheson Stakes at Gulfstream.